Person Of Interest Sought In String Of Mailbox Thefts
NBC 4 – 8/13/10
(CHILLICOTHE, OHIO) “Police have identified a person of interest in connection with recent mailbox thefts involving several counties. According to Chillicothe police, Margaret L. Fearnow is a person of interest in the mailbox thefts.
[…] Fearnow is described as being a 43-year-old white female, 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighing 120 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information on Fearnow’s whereabouts is asked to call police at 740-773-1191 or Southern Ohio Crime Stoppers at 740-773-TIPS, 800-222-TIPS or on their Web site at www.SouthernOhioCrimeStoppers.com. […]”
COMMENTS: It is difficult to believe that just one woman is behind the rash of mailbox thefts that have plagued Ohio lately. Most likely she is working with others, as these identity theft operations usually involve several crooks working in a team. When and if the police catch Fearnow, there will be others like her targeting your mailbox, so the best solution is to secure your mail and your identity with a high quality locking mailbox like the Mail Boss.
Mailbox Thefts Arrest in Waynesboro
WHSV 3 – 8/14/10
(WAYNESBORO, VIRGINIA) “Two women have been arrested for a string of mailbox thefts in Waynesboro.
Thirty-one-year-old Hillary Ann Reed of Staunton and 28-year-old April Renee Brown of Stuarts Draft face felony larceny charges for allegedly stealing from a number of mailboxes in the city of Waynesboro.
Both women are tied to similar crimes in Staunton, which helped officers in Waynesboro make the arrests.
Sgt. Kelly Walker, from the Waynesboro Police Department says, “I think the Staunton Police Department did a fantastic job of identifying the suspects in their cases. That just led to us following up with that information to make cases for crimes that occurred here.”
The two face other charges like forgery, uttering and obtaining money by false pretenses.”
COMMENTS: Good to hear these criminals were caught. Unfortunately there are many more out there looking to use your mail to steal your identity. It’s not tough to do, either! That’s why folks need to be vigilant with their incoming mail and use a high security locking mailbox to prevent identity theft.
Thieves stealing from area mailboxes: Rash of incidents recently has hit Hocking, Fairfield, Ross counties
Lancaster Eagle-Gazette – 8/11/10
(LANCASTER, OHIO) “A rash of thefts from mailboxes in Fairfield, Hocking and Ross counties have investigators trying to find out who is behind them and urging people to be cautious with their mail.
“We’ve taken four similar reports from people who have had their mail stolen,” said Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen. “They seemed to be centered in Berne Township.”
In one of the reports, the theft occurred between 11 a.m. and 12:55 p.m. Saturday in the 2700 block of Crawfis Road. The victim’s mail had been opened and stuffed inside a shipping envelope and left on his porch, according to a Fairfield County sheriff’s office report.
“We think there may have been more thefts,” Phalen said. “Some of the residents in Berne Township may have discovered the mail on the roads and in their yards and just returned it to the victims.”
The Hocking County Sheriff’s Office said a woman on Friday brought in a large amount of mail discarded along a road in Logan. The letters, including sympathy cards and burial plot documents, belonged to a cluster of neighboring addresses. Another woman found a batch of missing mail while looking for her own.
Sgt. Kevin Groves with the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office said the culprit — or culprits — might have kept new credit cards or other mail that could yield potential financial gains, and then thrown out the rest.
Victims are being advised to monitor their credit reports for possible identity theft.
Phalen said postal patrons could do a couple of things that would reduce the risk of residential mail theft.
“I know many people can’t because they are working, but if you can, be sure to get your mail out of the box as soon as you can after the mail carrier has dropped off your mail,” Phalen said. “Also, if you are sending out an item, don’t put it in the mailbox until the right before it is picked up. Put it in the box in the morning rather than the night before.”
In Ross County, Sheriff George Lavender said his office has been closing in on the culprits responsible for thefts of outgoing mail. During the past six months, there have been at least four reports of someone taking a payment from a mailbox, altering the check and attempting to cash it.
Lavender advises residents can help better protect their payments by dropping their mail off at the post office or in a blue postal service mailbox.
If residents see anyone acting suspicious around a neighbor’s mailbox, they should call the Sheriff’s Office at (740) 652-7900.
COMMENTS: Mail theft is one of the primary ways crooks gain access to your personal information, and they use what they find for identity theft. In the world we live in today, we can no longer leave our most sensitive personal documents out on the road for any passerby to steal. To protect yourself from mail identity theft, you need to use a high security locking mailbox, so only you can access your mail. No, the mail carrier does not need a key!
When looking for a locking security mailbox, some things to keep in mind: (1) What is it made of? It should be made of heavy-gauge steel, not plastic or thin gauge metal that can be easily violated. (2) Can it be fished? No sense buying a locking mailbox that a criminal can simply reach into… and you would be surprised how many “secure” mailboxes can be easily fished by hand. (3) Can it be pried open with a screwdriver? Many thieves bring tools with them and target “locking” mailboxes that can be easily pried, thinking there is much more to steal if someone doesn’t check the mail regularly.
A high quality security locking mailbox that cannot be fished by hand or easily pried open with a screwdriver is the Mail Boss. It will secure your incoming mail until you are able to retrieve it with your key. To be safe, you should also secure your outgoing mail: don’t send checks from an unlocked mailbox but instead bring them to the post office or use online bill pay – it’s more secure! Lastly, always shred sensitive documents (most of which come in your mailbox) before discarding them to prevent thieves from stealing your mail from the dumpster. But of course, I’m sure they prefer to steal from the mailbox… less filthy!
(LOGAN, OHIO) “Investigators say at least a dozen households in southeast Ohio have fallen prey to a thief stealing from home mailboxes.
The Hocking County Sheriff’s office says a woman on Friday brought in a large amount of mail discarded along a road in Logan, about 45 miles southeast of Columbus. The letters, including sympathy cards and burial plot documents, belonged to a cluster of neighboring addresses.
Another woman found a batch of missing mail while looking for her own.
Sgt. Kevin Groves with the sheriff’s office says the culprit — or culprits — may have kept new credit cards or other mail that could yield potential financial gains, and then thrown out the rest.
Victims are being advised to monitor their credit reports for possible identity theft.”
COMMENTS: ID theft is the fastest growing crime in the country, and stolen mail is among the most common ways that criminals get your personal information. In this case, people in Logan are lucky because they were alerted to the mail theft since the crooks left unwanted mail strewn about; however, most times thieves just simply put unwanted mail back in the mailbox and victims do not even realize their personal information has been compromised.
Unfortunately, Americans can no longer receive their mail in an unlocked mailbox and expect that their credit card statements, bank account information, utility bills etc. will be safe until they retrieve their mail. The solution is a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss that can’t be fished by hand or easily pried open with a screwdriver. The Mail Boss secures your incoming mail until you retrieve it with your own unique key; the mail carrier does not need a key to deposit your mail into your own personal mail fortress.
To protect against mail identity theft, (1) use a high security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss; (2) never send sensitive mail i.e. checks from an unsecured mailbox – bring them to the Post Office; and (3) always shred sensitive documents – most of which come in your (unlocked?) mailbox – before discarding them.
Mail Thief in Hocking County
WSYX ABC6 – 8/9/10
(ROCKBRIDGE, OHIO) “U.S. Postal Inspectors and the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office are looking for someone stealing mail out of mailboxes.
Deputies found a pile of opened mail on Cliff Road over the weekend and returned it to the owners.
One victim tells us she noticed she didn’t get any mail last Saturday and thought it was odd. Deputies showed up at her house the next day with the opened letters.
Postal Inspectors will be in Hocking County tomorrow to work on the case. If you have any information you can call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service hotline at: 1-877-876-2455.”
COMMENTS: Thieves are stealing mail to look for sensitive documents to use for identity theft. You shred most of what you receive in your mail box before discarding it, so why leave it out in your unlocked mailbox for thieves to steal? Lock it up with the Mail Boss high security locking mailbox by Epoch Design – a true solution to mail identity theft.